Monday, September 24, 2012

Exploring Hipster Hongdae

Yesterday, I hopped on the subway and headed to the "big city." Seoul is certainly massive and I only explored a tiny corner of it in search of the Hongdae free market. Of course, I never found it.

But I did find some awesomely cheap earrings, an adorable bow, radical street art, about 10 Mexican food restaurants, and some adorable puppies even followed me around for a bit.

But that's not what I am here to talk about. I am here to talk about Korean street fashion! Hongdae is known for being a pretty "hip" place, in terms of the American definition, anyways. If you don't know what the American definition for "hip" is, let me provide a sampling.

  1. Hipsters might be those people who blushingly say "I'm not hip, I'm indie/original" while paying through the nose to wear whatever Urban Outfitters is selling this month and looking like every other non-hip indie/original asshole out there.
  2. They might spend a lot of time talking about how intellectual they are, without saying anything remotely intellectually stimulating.
  3. Every time you play your new favorite band or song, they might mention how "Yeah, I was so into him/her/them/it, like five years ago. But that was back before anyone had heard of him/her/them/it."
  4. They might look like this:
Now can you see why we used to play "Hobo or Hipster" in college?
Okay, okay, although I'm being incredibly unfair to hipsters the world over, let it be known I don't loathe all hipsters. I'm even being slightly hypocritical as I type this, considering I own Weezer glasses.  But back to the topic of Korean hipsters in Hongdae--it's home to one of Seoul's art universities and as such, there are so many people making "statements" with their clothes.

Military-inspired: I have never seen so many girls dressed in military-inspired outfits and looking fine at the same time. And I mean fiiiiine! So many girls rocking a forest green, whether that be in the form of a sheer deep green blouse or an oversized military jacket. The shoes drove me wild: junky-looking boots that can survive paint splatters in the studio or tromping around town.

Mad-About-Plaid: I think I can say that grunge is back with fair certainty. Oversized plaid shirts were everywhere, atop ripped and/or skinny jeans. Plaid skirts, plaid shoes, plaid bows, plaid headbands--everyone is mad about plaid. This is something I am totally okay with because it means at least I'll be able to score some cheap looks that might fit me without alterations!

Hippy Prepster: This clean, hip look wasn't nearly as prevalent in Hongdae as I was expecting, but I bet if I came out during Club Day (the last Friday of the month when you gain admission to all clubs for the price of one, getting access to all sorts of indie live shows), there would be prepsters galore. I'm in love with the wingtips, the Weezer glasses, the skinny tailored slacks (for the boys) or the high-waisted pants (for the girls). Breezy blouses complete the look.

Can't wait until fall really hits--then it will be time to break out the scarves hardcore. Hipsters, on your mark.


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